Apple and Sausage Stuffing

My husband and I are moving into our new apartment on Tuesday!!  I cannot wait!!  It is a beautiful little two bedroom, one bathroom unit, and is within walking distance of my mom’s house!  This morning, I went on the walk-through with my mom (as my husband was working), and honestly, the first thing I thought was where in the kitchen will I put my keurig??  I am also excited to decorate and set up the kitchen and then start COOKING!
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Speaking of cooking, I have one more belated recipe from Thanksgiving, skillet apple stuffing, courtesy of Real Simple magazine.  I added sausage, because sausage in stuffing is amazing, of course. 😉  Everyone thought it was “so weird” to put apple in stuffing, but it’s so much less weird than other things, like raisins or craisins, or whatever other gross things people put in stuffing. 😉  Also, instead of using fresh baguettes, my mom purchased stuffing bread mix from the store, to make things a bit easier.  It worked super well, also!
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I know it makes more sense to post Thanksgiving recipes before Thanksgiving, but, well…I have no excuse. You can make this ANY time of year, though, or bookmark/pin it for next Thanksgiving!  Everyone gobbled it up (despite the “so weird” comments), and I got so much praise on it!  This was the first time I had made stuffing before, and my mom was the one who gave me the recipe to use, and I highly, highly recommend it!
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Also, my niece made place-cards for everyone.  It was too sweet not to snap a picture!!
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Skillet Apple (and Sausage) Stuffing

serves 10+

Ingredients:
-2 baguettes (about 1lb), cut into 1-inch pieces (about 16cu) –> or bagged stuffing mix!
-4tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
-1 medium onion, chopped
-4 stalks celery, chopped
-1tbsp fresh thyme leaves (I used 1/2tbsp of dried thyme)
-kosher salt and black pepper
-3-4cu low-sodium chicken broth
-2 large eggs, beaten
-1 apple (such as Pink Lady or Gala), chopped
-1lb ground sausage

Directions:
-Heat oven to 325° F. Spread the bread in a single layer on 2 rimmed baking sheets. Bake, tossing once, until dry, 20 to 25 minutes; remove and let cool (only do this if you’re using the fresh baguettes, but if you’re using a bagged mix, SKIP THIS).
-Then increase oven temperature to 425° F.
-Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large cast-iron or other ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, thyme, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
-Cook the ground sausage during this time, in the same skillet.
-Let cool slightly. Combine the broth and eggs in a medium bowl.
-Add the bread and apple to the skillet. Add 3 cups of the broth mixture and toss until the liquid is absorbed. Add up to 1 more cup of the broth mixture to the stuffing as needed. (The stuffing should feel moist but not soggy, and there should be no standing liquid in the bottom of the pan –> I did NOT need to add more liquid, just FYI).
-Cover with foil. Bake on the top rack until heated through, 25 to 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes more.
-Serve warm.

**Note: it’s easy to plan this around dinner-time, since your oven will probably also be full of turkey.  It was able to fit on the top rack, squeezed in next to the turkey pan.  I did all of the necessary chopping ahead of time, then dumped everything into the skillet, cooked for 20mins, then put in the oven.  I started the skillet-then-baking process about one hour before dinnertime, so that it was ready at the same time as the turkey, without any stress!

**Another note: we do not have a cast-iron or oven-safe skillet, so we just transferred from the skillet into a baking dish for the final part, and that worked just fine.  You can adapt it however you need to, for your own kitchen and materials!

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